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World Bank reviews labour rights safeguard

27 February, 2013The World Bank has announced a series of upcoming consultations on social and environmental safeguards. National unions are encouraged to take part, in order to urge the Bank to adopt a comprehensive labour rights safeguard.

Last year the World Bank started consultations for the long overdue review of it’s social and environmental safeguard policies. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Global Union Federations (GUFs) proposed that the World Bank use the policy review to introduce a comprehensive labour standards safeguard in order to ensure that all Bank-financed activities are required to comply with the International Labour Organization’s (ILO's) core labour standards and other basic labour conditions.

For many years the World Bank has relied on its system of safeguards to identify and control social and environmental risks and to improve development outcomes. While almost all Bank projects affect workers in some way, the safeguards do not currently address labour and working conditions.

The ITUC and GUFs recommend that the World Bank’s approach to the safeguards revision should identify the area of labour standards and working conditions as one that the policy must address. The safeguards policy that the Bank submits for Board review and for public consultation should include a robust labour standards policy consistent with the progress made in other divisions of the World Bank Group, including the International Finance Corporation (IFC). (See ITUC and GUFs Summary note)

IndustriALL Global Union affiliates are encouraged to take part in the World Bank safeguard review consultations to advocate for the adoption of a comprehensive labour standards safeguard. See World Bank web page for further information about the consultations and for registering to attend.